The 10 Best Monopods

Updated June 10, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Monopods
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Perfect for stabilizing outdoor shots without having to carry around heavy gear, these monopods set up in seconds and provide a stable base for videographers and photographers. Our selection is ranked by price, extension lengths, portability and durability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best monopod on Amazon.

10. AmazonBasics Monopod

The AmazonBasics Monopod is a basic, run-of-the-mill option for amateur photographers who don't want to dedicate a lot of money to their hobby. It features four adjustable leg sections that allow it to reach a 67-inch length.
  • adjustable wrist strap
  • retractable traction spike
  • leg locks can be broken easily
Brand AmazonBasics
Model WT1003
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Dolica WT-1003

The Dolica WT-1003 is built to professional standards, but doesn't cost an arm and a leg, making it perfect for those on a tight budget. It boasts solid functionality thanks to basic, but reliable, features like a non-skid rubber foot and an NBR foam grip.
  • quarter-inch camera mount screw
  • grooved for structural stability
  • only supports 7lbs or less
Brand Dolica
Model WT-1003
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Opteka CFM300

With five sections and multiple locking points, the Opteka CFM300 offers a lot of height adjustability. It is comprised of a combination of carbon fiber and magnesium, making it sturdy and keeping it lightweight at the same time.
  • cameras screw directly onto the head
  • also makes a great walking stick
  • difficult to tighten the legs
Brand Opteka
Model OPTCFM300
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Benro 3 Series

If you are unsure whether you need a tripod or a monopod, get the Benro 3 Series. It is both useful items in one handy package and can be purchased with a variety of video heads depending on your needs. Impressively, it can support nearly 40lbs.
  • backed by a 3-year warranty
  • comes with a carrying case
  • only folds down to 21 inches
Brand Benro
Model A38FD
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Dolica WT-1010

The Dolica WT-1010 is a superbly well-built, smoothly operating model that handles equipment up to 20lbs with graceful ease. Its protective finish resists chipping and peeling, and works well in all climates. It can reach a maximum height of 61".
  • cnc machined components
  • short-throw legs for quick openings
  • head cannot swivel
Brand Dolica
Model WT-1010
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Opteka MP100

The Opteka MP100 is a heavy duty, quality-built option that can hold even larger SLR-style cameras, and makes using point-and-shoot models easy. Its quick-action lever leg lock system makes adjustments a snap, and it comes at a very budget-friendly price.
  • includes a wrist lanyard
  • secure rubber grip foot
  • great for quick setups
Brand Opteka
Model M100
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Benro 4 Series

The Benro 4 Series is available with either flip-locks or twist-locks, depending on which you prefer, and has a complete S4 camera mount head, making it ideal for professional videographers and photographers. Unfortunately, it is a bit heavy at 4.3lbs.
  • articulating base
  • extends to just over 68 inches
  • independent pan locking head
Brand Benro
Model A48FDS4
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Sirui P-204S

The Sirui P-204S offers a wide range of versatility for taking photos or shooting videos. It allows for a full 360° pan and can tilt up to 20° in any direction, plus its removable rubber feet prevent slipping in wet conditions.
  • can be used as a tripod or monopod
  • retracts and extends smoothly
  • interchangeable screw head mounts
Brand Sirui
Model P-204S
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Manfrotto 290

The Manfrotto 290 has a robust, four-section pole made from sturdy and lightweight black anodized aluminum. Its flip locks allow for quick setup and breakdown, so you never miss that perfect shot, even if you are unprepared.
  • quality made in italy
  • comfortable foam handle
  • practically self-collapses
Brand Manfrotto
Model 681B
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Gitzo GM2562T Series 2

At just 14 ounces, the Gitzo GM2562T Series 2 is ideal for those who go on serious photography excursions and like to travel light. Despite its light weight, its stiff carbon tubing is amazingly sturdy and can support over 25 pounds.
  • six-section telescoping construction
  • hanging clip and lanyard
  • extremely small when collapsed
Brand Gitzo
Model GM2562T
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Three Legs Aren't Always Better Than One

Mathematically speaking, I understand why the tripod gets so much of the glory. After all, the triangle is the stablest, strongest geometric shape out there. A tripod is a versatile, rugged piece of equipment that you can outfit with any number of heads to suit your shooting needs.

But so is the monopod. In fact, the monopod provides almost all the features and benefits of a tripod in a lighter, more mobile package. We're talking about only having to deal with one leg instead of three, after all.

Good monopods are made from aluminum or similar metals, with carbon fiber materials forming the most expensive models on the market. Those carbon fiber models are significantly lighter than their metallic counterparts, but they're are just as durable and can hold just as much weight, if not more.

At the top of your monopod is a 3/8" male thread mount, perfect for attaching a tripod head. If you want to attach your camera or your lens mount directly, that 3/8" thread should slide down to reveal a 1/4"-20 male mount that lives at the center of the 3/8" mount. The 3/8" threads are spring-loaded, so you can push them out of the way simply by screwing your 1/4"-20 female piece into place, and they'll jump right back into position when you remove the smaller hardware.

Your monopod is also going to be extendable, with one to three extension points which get thinner as you extend down the build. Even with your monopod at full extension, its simple construction will allow you to rapidly change positions while keeping the stability you need for longer, sharper images.

Locking Into Place

The eternal question facing potential buyers of monopods and tripods alike divides the multitudes into a pair of irreconcilable camps. That question: do you snap, or do you screw?

The legs of tripods and the single post of any monopod extend by releasing a series of thinner legs out toward the ground. Those release mechanisms are universally one of two types.

The original type, the kind you could see on tripods and monopods reaching back decades, is the screw type. The joints between monopod leg segments on this type release and extend only when you unscrew a simple, threaded tightening element, which locks your legs in the extended position when you tighten it once again. The great advantage of this type is its durability, but it makes for a longer process in the extension.

Also, it's harder to know for sure that you've effectively tightened a screwing monopod, and one experience in which you fail to properly secure a leg could cost you your camera equipment should the monopod collapse on itself. After an experience like that, you could find yourself paranoically over-tightening the joints to the point where you'd strip them, rendering your monopod more or less defunct.

The other type of monopod extension is the snap type, which operates its joints with locking, spring-loaded levers. These give you the great advantage of assurance, of the knowledge that your monopod is, indeed, locked into place without fear of over-tightening. They are, however, theoretically less durable than the screw type, since they can suffer more extensively from an impact when they're in the open position.

In my personal experience, however, I've put this type of joint lock through the ringer on a single monopod for nearly a decade, and I've never had a locking tab break on me. The cheaper models might cut corners here, and that could come back to bite you, but if you spend a little extra, this snap type should last for years.

Strength In Carbon

Photographers have utilized anything and everything they could get their hands on to stabilize their images since the birth of the art form in the early 19th century. It was especially important in those days as exposures took so much longer. More often than not, photographers in those days employed tripods, though as exposure times decreased toward the end of the century, monopods became feasible alternatives to their bulkier cousins.

At this point in the history of photographic accessories, neither tripods nor monopods could effectively collapse, so a monopod proved all the more mobile than a tripod for capturing important events from more angles.

Collapsible models of tripods and monopods really came into their own in the 50s and 60s, as advances in metallurgy following the second world war allowed for more complex threading, piping, and locking designs.

Still, the tripods and monopods of those days were predominantly made of steel, and their weight was a problem. In the late 60s, however, advances in the promise of carbon fiber led the Japanese government to subsidize its refinement and manufacture, with companies like Toray and Mistubishi pouring resources into the field.

As Japan's economy grew to unprecedented heights in the 80s and 90s, massive growth in the photographic sector coincided with breakthroughs in carbon fiber quality to bring the market its most durable, lightest-weight tripods and monopods. Even as Japan's economy has normalized, its dominance in all things photographic, and the global dominance of carbon fiber in photographic stability, resounds.



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Last updated on June 10, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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